Breast Cancer

New York State Cancer Services Referral Line

Call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262) to find out where you can get breast cancer screening and support in your area. The phone line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can help callers who do not speak English. Or, text "Get Screened" to 81336 to find the nearest location where you can get breast cancer screening.

In New York State, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.

All women can get breast cancer, but it is most often found in women ages 50 and older.

A mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer early. Finding breast cancer early may make it easier to treat.

Breast Cancer Screening and COVID-19

Safety is a top priority for mammography facilities and other medical offices. Health care facilities require all staff and patients to wear masks and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the office. Facilities will disinfect equipment, exam rooms and dressing rooms after each patient. Other safety steps may include socially distanced waiting rooms, on-line check in, and adding more time between appointments.

It is important to talk to your health care provider about getting a mammogram. You and your provider should talk about your overall health and your breast cancer risk and decide when is the right time for you to get a mammogram.

New York State Breast Cancer Programs

More than 200 hospitals and clinics statewide now offer extended mammography screening hours. Extended screening hours make it easier than ever to schedule your screening mammogram outside of the typical 9-5 workday hours.

Call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262) to find out where you can get breast cancer screening and support in your area. The phone line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can help callers who do not speak English. Or, text "Get Screened" to 81336 to find out the nearest location where you can get breast cancer screening.

In July 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed a new law to help more women get breast cancer screening and diagnostic imaging, if needed. The law keeps most health insurance plans in New York from requiring out-of-pocket costs for women who get these services. More information about the new law can be found at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/breast/nys_breast_cancer_faqs.htm

If you don't have insurance, you may still be able to get screened. The New York State Cancer Services Program offers free breast cancer screening for eligible, uninsured New York residents in every county and borough.

The program provides breast cancer screening to:

  • Women ages 40 and older (some programs serve women ages 50 and older only)
  • Women under age 40 at high risk for breast cancer (eligibility is determined by a New York State-licensed health care provider)

For women who have abnormal results, the program also provides free diagnostic testing and case management services.

Call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262) for more information about the New York State Cancer Services Program.

If you are currently uninsured and would like to see what health insurance options are available to you, please visit the New York State of Health marketplace.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to screen for breast cancer. Screening means checking for signs of cancer before there are symptoms or problems. If a problem is found more tests are needed. These are called diagnostic tests.

A mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer early.

Who should get screened for breast cancer?

Women ages 50 to 74 years should get a mammogram every two years.

Some women should be screened for breast cancer younger than age 50. Talk to your health care provider if you:

  • Are 40 to 49 years old
  • Have a family history of breast cancer
  • Have any symptoms of breast cancer such as swelling or dimpling of the breast, lump in the breast or underarm, irritation of breast skin, breast or nipple pain, nipple discharge.

What factors increase my risk for getting breast cancer?

A woman's risk for breast cancer can also be increased by:

  • Being younger than 12 years old at first menstrual period
  • Starting menopause at an older age (55+)
  • Never giving birth or giving birth to your first child after age 30
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Having certain gene mutations such as BRCA 1 or BRCA 2
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Having had high levels of radiation exposure (x-rays) to the chest early in life
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy.
  • Having close relatives who have had breast cancer
  • Having a personal history of breast cancer or a history of certain types of benign tumors of the breast
  • Having dense breast tissue
  • Getting older

Talk to your health care provider. Together you can decide the best screening schedule for you.